File-based workflow is the biggest single technology issue dominating the television industry, Broadcast’s Technology Survey can reveal.

The tape supply issues the industry has faced since April when an earthquake and Tsunami hit Japan has forced the industry to wake up to a world without tape with 45% of respondents singling this out as a technology challenge for the year ahead.

Respondents to our survey - which aims to pinpoint key buying and technology trends - were able to highlight up to five technology challenges over the next year.

While the response to file-based is on a par with HD (which also scored 45%) all the other conversations rated appear to revolve around the challenges that tapeless workflows present – such as storage and archiving (23%); digital cameras (20%), codecs (15%) and metadata (14%).

Senior industry figures were asked to comment on the results of our survey and confirmed that tapeless is dominating the technology agenda.

“File-based workflows have become a business critical decision for our customers. People are having serious conversations about how to manage without tape. It’s gone beyond a theoretical decisions now,”said Naomi Climer, Sony Professional‘s European vice president.

However, the cost and logistics involved in managing, tagging, storing and archiving huge reams of data is proving a challenge for all parts of the industry. For producers and facilities in particular the challenge for the year ahead will be to make their investments in tapeless workflow pay.

Ulla Streib, director of operations at Darlow Smithson pointed to the extra cost of employing data wranglers and workflow consultants for each shoot.“ It’s an expensive process at the moment. While the hardware is cheap the cameras and the management and storage of material is not.”

For post houses meanwhile, updating systems and buying or leasing the extra storage that tapeless demands is not necessarily something they would have budgeted for, or can charge clients extra for and, as Peter Savage, managing director of leasing company Azule finance pointed out, “In today’s climate a £100,000 unbudgeted spend on storage is going to hurt.”

Over 170 respondents took part in our survey, the majority of whom comprise of senior executives.

Production companies accounted for the biggest single group of respondents (25%) followed by broadcasters (20%) and post production companies (17%).

The full results of the survey -  which also includes a detailed breakdown on who is spending on what and how much – will appear in a supplement packaged in our IBC preview issue (2 September).